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How to Build a Business Rules Engine: Extending Application Functionality through Metadata Engineering

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[shelving code] Data Management/Programming

Business rules engines can make organizations more agile by allowing them to manage diverse sets of operating rules, such as many different contracts for goods and services with different clients. For example, business rules engines can contain interfaces that allow users to define business rules to add specific functionality to software applications in order to take advantage of particular business arrangements. This enables organizations to overcome the barriers of time, money, and reliability that traditional programming approaches present when trying to include variable business situations within information systems. Rules engines can also speed software implementation, provide increased auditability, and ensure engineering compliance. The capacity to understand and manage business rules outside of the "black box" of program code can improve the overall quality of IT infrastructures.

How to Build a Business Rules Engine is the first book to provide a detailed roadmap, with examples, for building a business rules engine. Written from the author"s 12 years of experience building business rules functionality, this book covers the necessary background and concepts, as well as the specific steps needed to build a rules engine. The book describes not only the components that a rules engine must have, but also the organizational issues that may determine its success after it has been built and implemented.

· The only book that demonstrates how to develop a business rules engine. Covers user requirements, data modeling, repository design, metadata engineering, and more.
· Includes conceptual overview chapters suitable for management-level readers, including general introduction, business justification, and development and implementation considerations.
· A sample application is used throughout the book to illustrate concepts. The code for the sample application is available online at

About the Author
Malcolm Chisholm holds an M.A. from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol. He has over 20 years of experience in information technology and 12 years building business rules engines. His expertise has allowed him to work in various industries focusing on systems development and data administration. Recently he has worked with the United Nations Development Program and Deloitte and Touche.

Audience: Database designers, data modelers, database administrators, software engineers, systems architects, project leader, project manager, programmer, and other IT staff.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Malcolm Chisholm holds an M.A. from the University of Oxford, a Ph.D.from the University of Bristol, and has over 20 years of experience in information technology. His expertise has allowed him to work in various industries focusing on systems development and data administration. Recently he has worked with the United Nations Development Program and Deloitte and Touche.

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Read an Excerpt

The first book for developers on the emerging and increasingly popular subject of business rules engines.
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Table of Contents

What Are Business Rules and Business Rules Engines. Why Build a Business Rules Engine. Data Modeling and Database Design. Who Defines Business Rules and When Do They Do It. The Atomicity of Business Rules. The "Black Box" Problem. The Components of a Business Rules Engine. Populating Table Data in the Repository. Populating Column Data in the Repository. Populating Relationship and Subtype Data in the Repository. Populating Reference Data in the Repository. Defining Business Processes and Related Information. Extending the Database. Managing the Database. Implementing a Simple Business Rule. More Edit Validation Rules, Rule Components, and Rule Versions. Rule Types for Checking Referential Integrity. Working with Batch Processes: Setting Indicators and Reference Data Code Values. Implementing Rule Types Using Relationships and Subtipes. Rules with Subtypes and Business Metadata. Debugging in Business Rules Engines. Managing the Business Rules Engine. Appendix A: Using the Sample Application.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    This book is very advanced. The example database was in MS Acces

    This book is very advanced. The example database was in MS Access (MSACCESS)  The book goes into the level of detail for a large enterprise application with a development team.
    However, it inspired me to take a minimal approach rather than create all of the details described. It was very useful for that. The first level used MS Access with MS SQL Server to evaluate a Regulatory DB used for Oil/Gas industry.
    It was complex due to the tracking of permits, leases, right-of-way, surveying, GIS, EPA, and other requirements that are dependent on each other.  To add to the complexity, there are multiple government agencies involved that also affect the current status and requirements.
    The Subject Matter Experts (SME) typically have specif terms and point-of-views. It enabled me to create a 1st version that added automation and efficiency. The Quality Assurance and Work-Flow-Tasking were great byproducts. 
    The second version took the working model and allowed a user-defined rule creation / management maintenance.
    MSAccess is a great rapid prototype tool to gather specification by example. As the author indicates, the end product should probably be done in C# or other tools.
    Overall, it was a great concept book to create parts needed for a specific application.
    Any database that has less than say 100 end users might consider MS Access as a rapid prototype tool to obtain the rules from SME.
    Larger operations such as a just in time assembly line will have a team of experts with specialized tools.  

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